1 Honey Mama’s CocoNoNut Cacao-Nectar bar, chopped
Place 1 cup of the raspberries in a blender, and add the coconut milk, cashew milk, dates, lemon juice, and vanilla bean seeds. Blend until smooth. Place gelatin in a small bowl (if using), and whisk in ¼ cup boiling water. Restart the blender, and add the gelatin mixture through the feed tube while the engine is running. Blend for about 30 seconds, or until well-mixed. Place the mixture in the refrigerator to chill.
Makes 1 heaping quart of ice cream.
To celebrate our Nibs & Coffee bar sofi™ Award win for Best Sweet Snack from the Specialty Food Association last month, we came up with a delectable new recipe to share! We’ve put the coffee in the coffee cake, that’s right! Now you can get your morning dose of coffee inside of your coffee cake instead of alongside it. How fun is that?
Eat, share, enjoy!
2 Honey Mama’s Nibs & Coffee Bars (5 oz.), chopped
½ c. pecans, chopped
½ c. coconut sugar
¼ c. Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
¼ c. coconut oil, room temperature or slightly softened
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. almond milk
1 T. apple cider vinegar
2 c. Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Baking Flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. Himalayan pink salt
1 tsp. vanilla
½ c. Spectrum organic shortening (or butter)
1 c. coconut sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” cake pan and set aside.
2. Place streusel ingredients in a bowl and use your fingers to break up the coconut oil (if the oil has reached a more liquified state you can just stir to mix the ingredients). Set aside.
3. Pour apple cider vinegar into a measuring cup, then fill with almond milk to reach the 1 cup mark. Give it a quick stir, then set aside. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl; set aside. Place coconut sugar and shortening in a medium-size bowl and mix with a handheld electric mixer until fully incorporated. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture and mix well. Add 1 egg, mix, then add ½ the remaining flour mixture. Add the last egg, then the remainder of the flour, mixing after each addition. Drop mixer speed to low, then slowly pour in the almond milk and vanilla; mix until fully incorporated.
4. Spread half the cake batter into the pan and top with half of the streusel. Carefully spread the remaining batter over the streusel, then sprinkle the rest of the streusel on top.
5. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool 15-20 minutes before serving.
I used organic palm shortening to make this cake dairy-free, but you can use room temperature butter if you prefer. If you aren’t following a grain-free diet, you may be able to use regular all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour, but the cooking time may be slightly different. My cake seemed like it could burn on top before the center set, so I added a foil tent loosely over the top for the last 10-15 minutes.
I’m receiving a fine lesson in “rolling with the punches” this week. Portland’s latest identity crisis has to do with the weather, and man-o-man, it’s been a doozy. Snow and ice have royally screwed with my plans this winter, and in an effort to not get bunched up about it, I’m trying to find comfort in the way I am being forced to slow way down, and enjoy some quiet time at home. I’ve read books that have been on my bookshelf for years untouched, and have finally organized my office space. I’ve completed work projects that felt unattainable before, and have done it all with at least one happy cat curled up on my lap. I am grateful for my warm, albeit ever-so-humble apartment, over-the-knee Smartwool socks, and the thick, alpaca scarf my mom sent from Ecuador a few years ago. I spend my “down” time searching the web for tropical travel destinations to give me fodder for my daydreams, and drink cup after cup of hot tea. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not so bad, but I miss the predictability of the winters of Portland past, and although it’s shocking to hear myself say this…I miss the rain.
I’ve been playing with a smoothie recipe for the past week, and was planning to post that for you today, but smoothies don’t really float my boat when it’s chilly out, and I’m assuming at least a few of you feel the same. As I headed into my kitchen today to prepare a little sweet snack (which almost always includes a hunk of Honey Mama’s), I had an idea: drinking chocolate. I’ve enjoyed it in those fancy little chocolate shops around town, and it always hits the spot, but it never occurred to me to make it with our honey-sweetened bars until today. Silly, silly me.
This drink is crazy rich, like the most amped-up drinking chocolate you’ve ever been served, and it fulfills those winter weather cravings like a champ. It doesn’t get 100% smooth, even after 1 full minute in the Vita-mix, but the texture didn’t bother me one bit. In fact, I grabbed a tiny spoon to scoop the precious dregs from the bottom. I may have even licked the interior of the cup. Yes-it was that good.
Drinking Chocolate (serves 2)
2/3 cup of unsweetened milk (I used hemp-coconut milk)
1 Honey Mama’s Dutch Cacao-Nectar Bar, broken into smaller pieces
1 T. maple syrup
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. cinnamon
Add milk and Honey Mama’s pieces to a small pot and place over medium-low heat. Bring to a low simmer. Pour into a Vita-Mix (or other high-powered blender), and add the remaining ingredients. Blend on high speed for one full minute. Pour into two small cups.
I’ve been having a little love affair with porridge this winter, and it’s about time I tell you all about it. I’ve flirted with steaming bowls of porridge off and on my entire life, but in an effort to consume less grains, I eliminated it from my diet a couple of years back. What a loss it was to remove such a hearty, warming, stick-to-your-ribs option from my morning breakfast rotation! A recent recommendation from my naturopath has me eating grains once again, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Amaranth, buckwheat groats, and teff have all popped up in my kitchen lately, but my most recent obsession is with quinoa flakes. Bearing the most resemblance to the quick-cooking oats of my childhood, quinoa flakes cook up in a flash. All you have to do is set a pot of milk to simmer, add quinoa flakes and spices, and, ta da! Breakfast is served.
Besides being a cinch to prepare, quinoa flakes are chock full of nutritional benefits that make them a star among breakfast options. They are an excellent source of plant-based protein and dietary fiber, low in calories (if you tend to count those), and very high in antioxidants. Even though quinoa is not technically a grain (check out the term “psuedo grain” to learn more), it still counts as a highly nutritious, whole-grain food that is safe for those following gluten-free and/or low-grain diets.
Sometimes I go willy-nilly with the spice cabinet, throwing in just about everything I get my hands on, but lately I’ve been settling on a bowl flavored simply with cinnamon and a little vanilla, which allows me a bit more freedom when adding toppings. Last week, I made this exact bowl two days in a row, then enjoyed it again this morning. I can’t seem to get enough. If gives me the brain fuel to get my day off to a good start, and powers me through my late-morning Vinyasa yoga class. All the good, healthy fats, and easily digestible proteins carry me wonderfully into my day, and I plan to repeat this bowl frequently throughout this long, dark winter. This recipe makes a hearty portion of porridge, once you add all the extras. If you tend to crave a lighter breakfast, half this with your sweetie or housemate.
Quinoa Flake Porridge (Serves 1-2)
1 ½ c. unsweetened non-dairy milk (I like Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Almond Milk)
½ cup quinoa flakes
1 tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 scoop grass fed collagen powder (optional)
1 T. goji berries
1 tsp. raw honey
1 banana, sliced
1 T. Wild Friends Organic Honey Sunflower Butter (or your favorite nut/seed butter)
¼ cup granola (I like Paleonola Maple Pancake)
1 ounce (1 piece) Honey Mama’s Nibs & Coffee
Bring milk to a simmer, and stir in quinoa flakes. Reduce heat to low, and stir in cinnamon, salt, vanilla, and goji berries. Cook 2-3 minutes, or until slightly thickened and creamy. Remove from heat, and stir in the collagen powder (if using). Pour into a serving bowl, and top with remaining ingredients.
Last month, a few of us Mama’s hopped on a plane and zipped down to Malibu for Mercado Sagrado, a two-day curated indie craft experience. My-oh-my, what a treat it was to trade cloudy Portland skies for some good ol’ SoCal sunshine. Not having spent nearly enough time in these parts, I was blown away by the beauty that awaited us. Don’t get me wrong, I love Portland with my whole heart, but I could spend a lifetime bearing witness to those gorgeous Malibu sunsets. Not only did we soak up plenty of Vitamin D-rich sunshine, we also introduced a lot of new folks to our products, and made some new friends along the way. I kind of fell in love. The event itself was held outdoors at Paramount Ranch, and the whole set-up made me feel like I was taking part in some kind of modern-indie-western film. It was the perfect backdrop for this ethereal event, and the word “otherwordly” came to my mind more than once.
I had been working on a new holiday cookie recipe the week before the event, so I grabbed the remnants of the latest batch on my way out the door. I always head to the airport armed with plenty of snacks, and these cookies hit the spot when we were at about 36,000 feet above the earth’s surface. Paired with some nitro cold-brew coffee from Stumptown (gotta love the options at PDX), this girl was in heaven.
I wanted to give this recipe another test run before I sent it your way, and finally had time to do that yesterday. Honestly, I think I love them even more this time around. Maybe it’s the snow on the ground, or the comforting aroma of the wafting spices, but these cookies hit a sweet spot that warmed me from the inside out. Soft and vaguely reminiscent of the oatmeal-cinnamon cookies I used to enjoy as a child, I devoured two quickly with a glass of warm almond milk. I’ve been wanting to use our Mayan Spice Cacao-Nectar bar in a cookie recipe for a while now, and this one was the perfect match. While I love the structure of the Mesquite Chocolate Chunk Cookies I posted last month, there’s something about the softness of these pumpkin cookies that feels like a warm hug. For bonus points, I made them 100% grain-free for all you Paleo lovers out there. I can see them being the perfect match for holiday eggnog, and a welcome addition to any holiday dessert table.
Pepita Pumpkin Spice Cookies:
2 ½ cups raw pepita “flour” (see Notes below)
2 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 ½ T. ground flaxseed
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. Himalayan pink salt
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. cardamom
¼ tsp. nutmeg
⅛ tsp. cloves
½ cup canned pumpkin
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup melted coconut oil
1 T. vanilla extract
¼ cup shredded coconut
1 Honey Mama’s Mayan Spice Cacao-Nectar Bar, cut into rough chunks
Mix pepita flour through cloves in a mixing bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk pumpkin, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract until fully blended. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and stir to mix well. Fold in shredded coconut and cacao-nectar pieces. Place in refrigerator to firm up, about 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out about 2 T. of dough, roll into a loose ball, and drop onto the baking sheet, flattening slightly. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing cookies a couple of inches apart.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.
I make my own pepita flour by pulsing raw (or sprouted) pepitas in a food processor until they are broken down into a fine meal. The seeds will turn into butter if you let them go for too long, so stop processing just before they reach that point . The texture of your pepita flour will make a huge difference in how your cookies turn out. A flour that is more coarse will produce a batter that is more likely to spread while baking. If the batter is too loose to roll easily into a ball after chilling, this is a good sign that your cookies will spread. They will still taste delicious, you will just need to leave a lot of space between each cookie when placing the dough on your baking sheet. Be sure to watch closely, and potentially adjust the baking time to keep the cookies from burning. I made three batches of these cookies, and they came out different every time, as shown in the photos below. I didn’t prefer one over the other. They all tasted great!
2. Coarse pepita meal:
Let’s chat about honey, shall we?
Most folks think chocolate is what makes our bars so special. While we agree that cacao is an incredible superfood (see our post about that here), it is the raw honey that we use to sweeten our bars that makes them so unique. Raw honey goes way beyond just being a delicious sweetener; in fact, it has a multitude of medicinal uses that I will discuss later on in this post. Ever since I started working for Honey Mama’s, it has been my goal to spread the word about how nutritious our products actually are. Redefining the word “treat” is not an easy thing to do, but it does help when you have a product as delicious as our cacao-nectar bars to help plead your case. Treats don’t have to be bad for you; as a matter of fact, a treat can be defined as “an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure”. Funny how a word that is defined so simply has become synonymous with sugar-laden, nutrient-void confections. Our bars definitely aren’t candy, but they certainly don’t taste as healthy as they are. They “treat” you from the inside out, and that’s pretty special. If you can hang with me for a moment, I will tell you a little bit more about why you feel so darn good when you eat them.
Back when I was a kid growing up in Alabama, my mom would often bring home honey that had been gifted to her by one of the locals. If the jar happened to have a honeycomb in it, my older brother and I would scoop it out, split it in half, and savor every morsel. It was the most delicious treat we could imagine, and I preferred it to cake, cookies and donuts combined. Seriously. Even back then – when my knowledge of good health was minimal at best – I understood that local honey was good for me. To this day, at the first sign of seasonal illness, I whip up a batch of my favorite honey-based, anti-inflammatory “magic paste” as a cure-all for winter ailments.
It is an extremely unfortunate circumstance, however, that in recent years honey has become compromised by mass production, pasteurization, and companies that just straight up lie about the amber colored liquid they place in their jars. Honey, at times, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. While searching for information on the subject, I ran across an article on naturalnews.com that contained the following paragraph:
“Raw honey is honey that has not been heated, pasteurized or processed in any way. The differences between raw and pasteurized honey are substantial. Raw honey is an alkaline-forming food that contains natural vitamins, enzymes, powerful antioxidants and other important natural nutrients. These are the very nutrients that are destroyed during the heating and pasteurization process. In fact, pasteurized honey is equivalent to – and just as unhealthy as – eating refined sugar.”
Wow – that’s some powerful information right there. Yet another reason to be sure you know where you food is coming from. Fortunately for us, we have some great allies in Matt & Madelyn from Mickelberry Gardens. This is who we source our honey from, and when it comes to sustainable bee-keeping practices, these guys know their stuff. Located out in Gresham, Oregon, their beehives are close to our SE Portland production kitchen, making the honey we buy from them local to our area. When you open a jar of their honey, you know you are in for a treat; one taste and you almost instantly feel better. The honey we purchase from Mickelberry is considered to be “low brix” which means that it is thicker, less sweet, and chock full of all the good things. Without this amazing ingredient, our bars would be a very different product. As one of my coworkers recently said, “the honey is the binder that keeps all the other ingredients in suspension”. That Mickelberry honey is special stuff, y’all. Here’s a little info from Matt & Madelyn’s website…
“You may notice that our honey and all of our honey tonics are made with Raw Honey. We are very careful to make sure that none of our honey is ever heated above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. We consider this “hive temperature” – we never allow the honey to reach a temperature higher than it might get inside the beehive on a hot summer day. By maintaining a low temperature honey’s therapeutic virtues, delicate fragrances and flavors, and enzyme content are all preserved. Honey contains the essence of flowers, and also has small amounts of pollen and propolis residues. Keeping it raw ensures it is at peak medicinal potency.”
At its best – raw and untainted – honey has a long list of positive attributes. Just to name a few:
Honey bees are hard-working creatures that do much more than just provide nectar. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, these under-appreciated insects pollinate 80 percent of our flowering crops, which constitute one-third of everything we eat. Losing them could affect not only dietary staples such as apples, broccoli, strawberries, nuts, asparagus, blueberries and cucumbers, but may threaten our beef and dairy industries if alfalfa is not available for feed. Unfortunately, our honey bees are in peril. An article released earlier this month states that a species native to Hawaii was just granted protection under the Endangered Species Act. Now is the time to get involved. Donate time, cash, or find out ways to create a bee habitat in your own back yard:
For additional reading: